“We need to rethink our message. What we’re saying doesn’t make sense anymore.”
–Fortune 1000 CMO, September, 2009.
This chief marketing officer isn’t alone. In the past 60 days, our firm has interviewed dozens of C-level executives and other marketing/sales professionals who agree. As they plan now for 2010, they’re including a (new) line item in their marketing strategies and budgets: messaging. Because for them, what worked in the past has little if any relevance today (much less tomorrow). According to McKinsey, “For the immediate future, business leaders will have to master the disciplines of uncertainty. (Managers) must drop the pretense that they can predict the future.”
An article in the October 19, 2009 issue of Entrepreneur, asks the question: “Is your brand story doing justice to your business?” Author Mary van de Wiel (Van), spells out a number of points, including: “Think about how you want your audience to react to your story. What’s the outcome–the object lesson here? What kind of conclusion do you want them to reach?”
Building the right story means developing a foundation of messaging that is flexible, adaptable and nimble to take best advantage of emerging opportunities, while mitigating unforeseen obstacles. As the business world continues to shift beneath your feet, a message platform (and the story that guides it) can be the roadmap for remaining relevant to every stakeholder in every situation.
As we all look to a more positive 2010, every company needs to question its relevance, its value — and yes, its story. So, do you have the right one? (If not, I know a firm that can help.)
While I’m working on my next post, I hope you’ll browse the archives. I also hope you’ll visit Cohesion to find out how we help organizations build stronger messaging to increase consistency, lower cost and drive growth.